Missouri President: School Will Make Proper Turn for Conference Alignment
Deaton, whose school may be a primary target of the Big Ten in its expansion efforts, got lost early Thursday afternoon as looked for the correct meeting room during the Big 12 spring meetings. Suddenly on a slow news afternoon, Deaton found himself surrounded by media members anxious to talk to anyone who looked official.
Missouri and Nebraska are believed to be viable candidates to bolt the Big 12 for the Big Ten if an invitation is extended in the near future. Each school could possibly make between $9-12 million more per year than it does in the Big 12.
That has placed Deaton and Missouri very much in the spotlight this week at the annual spring meetings.
Deaton started out Thursday by telling the throng of reporters he was late for a meeting, but he stood still long enough to answer several questions, however uncomfortable he might have been.
Q: Do you hope Missouri stays in the Big 12 conference?
A: We are going to be talking about conference alignment I am sure.
Q: What would like to see taken care of here?
A: We have a pretty open agenda here. We are just anxious to hear everyone's views on where we are going and to keep working every way we can to strengthen the Big 12. We are proud members of it and that's just where we are right now.
Q: What do you need to hear from the Big 12 conference?
A: We are entering into discussions. I'm not sure that we have expectations.
Q: Do you think the Big 12 is at a point where it has to keep you?
A: There are all kinds of speculation like conference alignment. I'm sure that will be a subject we will be talking about in some detail. I'm looking forward to that.
Q: Have you thought about the impact on Kansas City if Missouri should leave the Big 12?
A: As an institution, we are looking at all aspects of this conference alignment along with all the speculation we hear. I'm sure all of the schools in the Big 12 are doing that.
Q: Are you guys open-minded to staying in the Big 12 or are you of the mindset that the Big Ten is where we want to go?
A: We are part of the Big 12, very proud to be. We are active members trying to strengthen it in every way possible.
Q: If the commissioner asks you if you are in or out this week, where does Missouri stand?
A: We are proud members of the Big 12 and have been since its inception. That's what we are working toward.
Q: So is the speculation about you guys going into the Big Ten just talk?
A: We are not making any comments, as you know, about the speculation that's going on. We are proud members of the Big 12. We are happy, we are happy with the support the University of Missouri has. We are looking forward to this meeting.
Q: But are you willing to listen to anyone else like the Big Ten?
A: As an institution we are part of the Big 12, but we are not shutting our ears to anything. I'm sure every school here has a responsibility to its own institution as a primary responsibility and then conference alignment is something we do for the athletic program. That's what we are working on now. We are working toward that.
Q: Can you imagine a scenario where Missouri can walk away from an extra $10 million a year or whatever the figure might be?
A: Let me say, I have to run to a meeting I'm running late for here.
Q: But could you guys walk away from that type of money?
A: We are not making any comments about all the speculation about the Big 12 and answering all of the hypotheticals. That's like saying what happens if you have a $100 million handed your way, would you look at that? We are going to do what is best for the institution. We are proud members of the Big 12 and we are not making any comments about all the speculation about conferences.
Q: So what is best for Missouri?
A: What we are doing right now is best for Missouri and we will continue to look at all resources as we look to the future and all alignments as we look to the future. But we are members of the Big 12 and that's the point.